In light of a recent rash of criminal activity in the Turtle Cove subdivision in Flour Bluff, it is understandable that some residents have been more than just a bit unsettled. In the last week alone, the police raided a home on Waxwing that neighbors have suspected for some time was a haven for illicit drug use, answered a call where a 28-year-old woman reported her door kicked in and her home on Oriole burglarized, and responded to a shooting at 3:00 a.m. on the 900 block of Oriole where they met several people outside their homes after a car was damaged from gunfire. Are the neighbors ready to give up and move out? Residents who were interviewed love their neighborhood and have no intention of leaving. They do, however, have a plan of action for returning their neighborhood to the quiet, safe area it was not so long ago, starting with a select group of residents meeting with District 4 Council member, Colleen McIntyre, and representatives from various departments of law enforcement.
“It’s something that needs to happen since the last town hall meeting really didn’t give us any answers,” said Wes Womack, a long-time resident who patrols his neighborhood four times throughout the day and even at night. “From midnight to 4:00 a.m., there are lots of people on bicycles carrying backpacks through the neighborhood. I’m just asking for more police to patrol our neighborhood and see what these people are up to – to be a deterrent.”
Womack said that after the town hall meeting, he did see more of a police presence for a few days, but then there was nothing. “I don’t want promises,” Womack said. “I want solutions.”
Womack said that he is trying to be proactive and even convinced his neighbors to install and turn on security lights a few months ago. He said that many residents are gun owners and are headed to a local shooting range to receive training in handling, cleaning, and shooting a gun. “Safety is the most important factor,” Womack said. “They need to be proficient with a weapon if they are going to use it for protection. You can read a book on being an astronaut, but it won’t help you fly a rocket. You have to practice.”
The young woman whose home was burglarized said, “I’m not afraid to live here. I have always lived in Flour Bluff, and I love it here.” She, like Womack, has no intention of allowing a “few bad apples” in the neighborhood to steal her possessions or her peace of mind. She said that she understands that the limited number of police officers in the BRAVO district make response times slower for non-violent offenses, such as the break-in at her house. “Luckily, I have people – neighbors and family members – who come to my aide.”
“Neighbors helping neighbors, we definitely have that happening here. I’ve not been the victim of any of the situations out here, but I do try my best to help my neighbors with information, and I do look out for those around me. We are networking together to share info and are exploring our options,” said Diane Bonneau, a Turtle Cove resident who has been a leader in getting the residents to communicate with each other through social media sites such as NextDoor and Facebook.
All residents who were interviewed, expressed a desire to work alongside law enforcement and other social service departments to make a positive impact on their neighborhood. Bonneau said, “I’ve lived in the Bluff for about 25 years, all of it on Oso Bay, starting in the Wharf Apartments as I finished college. I would sit on my patio and look out at the strip of houses that backed up to the bay and said, ‘I will live in one of those houses!’ I live on Oriole Street in Turtle Cove in one of those houses now. I love the Bluff. Love my amazing view on the Oso and my incredible neighbors who have become my extended family. I don’t believe I will ever live anywhere else.”
Related Article: “Turtle Cove: A Good Neighborhood in Need of Help”